Wednesday, January 23, 2013

App Love: Instagram

A week ago I talked about my love for post-processing (read about it here) and while I intend to write more about Lightroom and shooting DSLR I would also like to talk about my favorite photo apps for smartphones. I have pretty much made a rule for myself that photos that I take with my iPhone 4S should be edited in the phone or on iPhoto. Fun, fast and hassle-free. Mobile. 

Today I am going to talk about Instagram - I suppose one of the most famous and talked about photo sharing app. I have been using Instagram for about a year now. While it can be a bit as overwhelming at times as any social media I still find it brilliant. From a social media aspect as well from creative aspect (yes, I said creative!).

You know Twitter has 140 characters, not much, right, but looking at a photo you need even less time to get the information. For example like this: "Hi there! I am in Brussels. It has a really gorgeous historic Town Hall with fancy lights and all. It looks a bit like Spanish flag at the moment with all the red and yellow. Blimey, check out their Xmas tree - it's not a real tree! It's a pile of plastic-looking cube-kinda things. But wow, it looks kinda cool when all lit up. It's green like a real thing. Oh yes, it is evening here, off to crab some mulled wine." Instead you can save some uncomfortable typing on a phone screen (mind you, your fingers are freezing 'cos it's cold out there) and just post this:

Of course sometimes you really don't want to sound smug and posting a photo seems more subtle. All I really wanted to say was: "I am in amazing Barcelona. Be jealous." However, I just posted this instead:

So instead of typing 140 characters (FYI: I do use Twitter and I think it is brilliant too, it's just less my kind of a thing - I am really bad at updating) I pop images of emotions and places to be shared with others. I am quite a bit into sharing, you know. 

Spelling the Starbucks way. Hi, I am Kaisa.

Call me Alyssa if you must. It won't change the fact that I was in front row at Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto tour in Madrid! 

Apart from social side I also love the easy creative side of Instagram. Hassle-free. I always take the photos with my phone camera and then crop them in Instagram. I love that for a change you get 1:1 ratio. The filters are fun and can add a touch of (sentimental) atmosphere. 

Trees were wrapped in lace and the silence fell.
Summer at Hiiumaa, Estonia.

Yes, you have less control of your photos (filters are pre-set and there isn't that much apart from the filters there), the photos are low-quality (you won't be able to make wall-size prints; because that's what you normally do, no? didn't think so ;)) and ever so often people look at them on a tiny screen. But who said Instagram is there to replace "conventional photography"?! Right?! Right. 

An unexpected encounter with beer-loving cats in Granada, Spain.

Most people just upload their photos straight from the camera, but now they get to have this small step where they see that one image can have many different looks and create different sensations. I think that's a tiny bit educative and tons of fun, too. For me taking photos is not only about being serious, being "professional". I think every image I snap is a small lesson. It is not possible to take your bigger better camera everywhere with you, but you can always have your smartphone. All in all, the subject, the atmosphere and the framing are SO important, so why give up a chance to practice that and share snippets of your life with those who care. Two in one, I'd say. 

The other day in Madrid I felt like walking in an English novel...

So, come on, make the most of your smartphone camera, be creative and meet other photo enthusiasts. 


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